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World Maker Faire

New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Queens, NY 11368-2950

Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 10am - 7pm
Sunday, September 30, 2012 - 10am - 6pm

EPA attended the Maker Faire Exit EPA Disclaimer to showcase some of our most innovative projects in the rapidly developing area of sensors that measure pollutant levels in water and air. While traditional environmental monitoring tools are often costly and large, sensors are now becoming cheaper, more portable, more accessible and built for individual use. Health sensors that measure physiological changes, such as heart rate and breathing, are following a similar trend. A combination of these two types of sensors, along with smartphones and social networking technologies, could revolutionize environmental protection and healthcare by changing how we see our environment and how we experience and treat our own health.

Photos from Maker Faire 2012

The Staff at the EPA booth for Maker Faire
Click image to view slideshow

Tweets from Maker Faire 2012

At the Booth:

  • My Air, My Health Challenge
    EPA and the US Department of Health and Human Service teamed up to issue the My Air, My Health Challenge, a call to innovators and device makers to develop portable, personal air pollution and health sensors. Follow the #MyAir hashtag on Twitter as we'll be announcing the Phase I winners soon! Learn more about this and other EPA challenges. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Campus RainWorks Challenge for undergraduate and graduate students. Student teams are invited to create an innovative green infrastructure design for a site on their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment. Winning teams will earn a cash prize, as well as research funds for their faculty advisor to conduct research on green infrastructure.
  • Apps for the Environment Challenge
    In June 2012 we challenged developers to use EPA data to create the best Apps for the Environment. Now we encourage you to try the 38 green apps people submitted. Give them a shout out on Twitter using the #greenapps hashtag.
  • EPA mentored a high school and college student team project called Project Tricorder. Sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Summer At The Edge (SATE) program Exit EPA Disclaimer, brings together high school and college level students to develop technology that benefits individuals and communities. The project team that EPA mentored was challenged with the question: Can citizen scientists use inexpensive, real-time sensors to collect air quality data and better understand air pollution trends in their communities? Learn more about their project that added external hardware to smartphones and tablets to collect environmental data on a large scale.


It All Starts with Science Blog Sensors and Sensibility Combining new environmental sensors with innovative smarthphone apps could herald a new era for environmental protection--and help people make better decisions for their own health.

Want to explore making your own sensors? The possibilities for environmental sensors are endless with some of today's technology that's openly available for inventors and makers to use. Below are some of the existing open-source resources available to get started.

These open-source platforms are not only for creating low-cost portable sensors but could be used for a wide variety of projects - limited only by your imagination.

The following examples are for informational purposes only. US EPA and its employees do not endorse any particular product, service or platform. Linking to these third-party sensor platforms does not constitute an endorsement by EPA or any of its employees of the platforms themselves or to the organization responsible for the creation of the platforms.

  • COSM - Connect devices and apps on the Cosm platform, exchange data and ideas with developers, and bring smart products to the world. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Sensordrone Environmental Sensors to expand Your Senses! Sensors that connect to Android devices, sensors that monitor toxic gases, carbon monoxide detectors and hydrogen sulfide detectors.Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • HiJack is a hardware/software platform for creating cubic-inch sensor peripherals for the mobile phone. Exit EPA Disclaimer

Find EPA data easily with Data Finder - EPA's Data Finder is a single place to find a vast selection of EPA data sources, organized into topics such as air and water that are in easily downloadable formats. You can also find environmental data from other federal agencies.

Put the pieces together with EPA's Developer Central! - EPA's Developer Central site helps developers access environmental data using featured EPA web services. If you're looking for a place to start, view our sample code and build on one of our initial projects. The site is useful for students and junior developers as well as seasoned professionals. We also encourage you to contact us directly and tell us about your app project.

See environmental data from across the federal government at Data.gov. Exit EPA Disclaimer You can find datasets, APIs, and more. You can see EPA's data offerings here.

Join the Community!
Sensors and Apps Forum Exit EPA Disclaimer
EPA developed this online community to foster communication between air pollution sensor developers and those interested in using sensors. Join in the conversation!

Join the conversation on EPA's Data and Developer Forum - a place for people to comment about environmental data and Data Finder, a single place to find EPA's data sources. You can suggest additional data sources or new features that make the site more useful.